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Disneyland Article
Everything You Need To Know For The Perfect Disneyland Holiday

ID:TMS-3073
Source:hearldsun.com.au
Author:Daniel Strudwick
Dateline:July 5, 2015
Posted:July 8, 2015
Mad Tea Party
Mad Tea Party
 
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I'm on bended knee in front of hundreds of strangers when it strikes me that the magic never really dies.

Beauty and the Beast - the 1991 Disney film that made history as the first animated movie up for Best Picture at the Oscars - was also the first film I ever saw at the cinemas.

And here I am 24 years later, hand outstretched, heart on sleeve, asking for the Beauty's hand in marriage.

She politely declines, insisting the Beast wouldn't be too pleased. And since he's not the sort of Disney prince I want to lock horns with, I don't protest.

This isn't provincial France, by the way, where Beauty and the Beast is set.

I'm just inside the front gates of Disneyland in Anaheim, California, where princesses like Belle carry the sort of celebrity status the US usually reserves for people with the surname Kardashian.

At home in Australia, I would never have lined up with children half my height and a quarter my age to meet a young woman wearing a yellow ball gown in broad daylight.

But this is the happiest place on Earth and I'll do what I please here. In fact, I'm powerless to stop myself.

That feeling - abandoning all cares and getting swept up in the magic of this 65ha fairytale - will come back frequently over the next four days.

It's been 60 years since Walt Disney flung open the door to his first theme park and I've come here for the diamond celebration. I came as a child with my family a long time ago and although the park has changed a lot, its purpose is the same. There's simply something in the air here.

And you haven't missed out on the party. In an act of extravagance only permissible when you're the world's most powerful movie studio, the birthday bacchanal runs until the end of 2016.

If your family is thinking about making the pilgrimage, this is the time to do so.

Here are 41 red-hot tips from someone who's just done it.

LIE OF THE LAND

1. The name Disneyland really refers to a sprawling complex that includes the original Disneyland Park, the newer California Adventure Park, three hotels and a pedestrian strip of shops and restaurants called Downtown Disney.

2. You can visit just one park, but it's worth paying $US40 ($A52) a day more to upgrade to a Park Hopper ticket, which allows you to go freely between them.

3. The original Disneyland is filled with all the classics - the teacups, Small World, Dumbo and Pirates of the Caribbean. It skews a little younger, but there are thrills to be had too.

4. California Adventure Park, as the name suggests, will get your blood pumping a little harder. But there's also plenty to entertain the kids.

5. So you can see why the Park Hopper is crucial. You'll have a great time at one park, but the true Disneyland experience includes both.

6. Entry is $US99 a day for those aged 10 or over, and $US93 for children between ages 3 and 9. Those prices go down the more days you stay, which brings me to

STAYING THERE

7. Trying to cram everything into one day is like trying to stop that stampede in The Lion King: No matter how badly you want it, it's just not going to happen. There are three hotels on site, so check in and relax.

8. I stayed at the plushest offering - the Grand Californian Hotel and Spa. From $379 a night, it's the dearest accommodation on site, but it's a welcome retreat after a long day in the park.

9. The foyer alone is something to behold. I know this is totally an Ariel thing to say, but how many wonders can one cavern hold? Put the kids to bed and pop down for a red wine in front of the roaring fireplace.

10. If the Grand Californian is beyond your budget, the just-refurbished Disneyland Hotel is worth a look.

11. Rooms start at $329 and if you prefer ultra-modern sleekness to log-cabin cosiness, you might be happier at Disneyland Hotel than at its swanky big sister up the road.

12. Then there's the cheapest of the three, the Paradise Pier Hotel. It captures all the ramshackle charm of a Californian beachfront boardwalk and only sets you back $259 a night.

13. All hotels include Wi-Fi, laundry rooms, dry-cleaning, pools and places to eat and drink.

14. You're bound to over-indulge inside the park, so start the day with a run in the fitness centre. For hotel gyms, they're well kitted-out.

15. The hotels also feature an exclusive entrance directly into California Adventure Park. As perks go, this is up there with a fairy godmother who can turn a pumpkin into a fully functional stage coach.

16. If you really want to stay off site, the website names a few Disney-approved hotels nearby.

THE RIDES

17. My top tip: Embrace the fastpass. It's criminally underused by other visitors, so take advantage before word gets out.

18. Each of the most popular rides has a FastPass kiosk. Go there, scan your ticket and they'll tell you a time to return within the next few hours. When you come back, you go straight to the front of the queue. It frees you up to explore the park instead of lining up.

19. There's only one ride that runs out of fastpasses first thing in the morning: Radiator Springs Races in Cars Land. Shift into fifth gear to score one of those early.

20. I'm a thrillseeker, so Tower of Terror and Space Mountain were my top two rides. Never has the constant fear of defenestration and decapitation been so vividly evoked.

21. For a change of pace, be sure to do Soarin' Over California. Strapped in high above the ground in front of a huge screen, you glide over the state's most beautiful sights thanks to truly breathtaking cinematography. When you brush the tops of Orange County's orchards, the smell of citrus literally fills the air around you. Unmissable.

22. It's a Small World is apex Disney magic. It's an enchanting trip around the whole globe in the time it takes for one song to get stuck in your head forever.

23. Skip Pirates of the Caribbean. This is controversial wisdom, since nearly all brochures refer to this boat ride as a guest favourite. For me, it was Small World minus the magic. Snooze.

24. You're going to get wet on some rides, so time your run. The Grizzly River Run is the wettest attraction, but it's also right next to the exclusive hotel entrance. Save it for the end of the day, then duck home to dry off.

25. Check out the photos as you exit through the gift shop. As is custom at theme parks, they snap a shot at the scariest part of the ride. Not your best angle, I warn you, but worth a giggle.

FOOD AND DRINK

26. Disneyland sells about 2000 Mickey Mouse-shaped pretzels a day. That number might have spiked while I was there.

27. Australia has the dagwood dog. America has the corn dog. Theirs is better. And Disneyland's version is fluffy batter perfection.

28. Coffee is always going to be an issue for Aussies in the US. There are Starbucks outlets aplenty at Disneyland - just close your eyes and think of your barista back home.

29. The beignet (pronounced ben-yay) is the best thing France ever gave America. Sorry, Statue of Liberty. You can get these hot doughnuts at a few places in the park, but the best ones are in Downtown Disney. Seek them out.

30. The most delicious accoutrement at any breakfast buffet is a cuddle from a beloved Disney character. The best photo ops are at Goofy's Kitchen and the Plaza Inn.

31. America thinks peanut butter and jam pizza is a breakfast food. You've been warned.

32. Make a booking at Napa Rose. You may come for the white tablecloths and scrumptious food, but you wil linger for the award-winning cellar.

33. If you're the sort of person who takes a cut lunch to the footy like me, it's a good idea to do a light grocery shop before arriving. There are snacks for sale, but it's nice to have them handy.

ABSOLUTE MUST DO

34. Start a conversation every time you line up. Americans are so warm and open. And you're sure to encounter a local Anaheim resident who comes to the park weekly.

35. The best things in life are free, and so are the best Disneyland attractions. Paint the Night is the new parade designed just for the 60th festivities and it's spellbinding. I had a tear in my eye as it marched down Main Street.

36. Neil Patrick Harris fan? Hang around at night for World of Colour. It's hosted by the How I Met Your Mother actor, but the real stars are the megalitres of water and palette of lights.

37. There's a set of Mickey Mouse ears to suit every taste. They have very few applications when you get home, but are a must-have when you're there.

38. Window shop with an eagle eye. Rumour has it there's a Mickey Mouse silhouette in every shopfront.

39. Take some time to explore the rest of Orange County. Huntington Beach has a beautiful pier and Duke's serves up the OC's best seafood lunch.

40. Wake up early and stroll along Downtown Disney with a coffee. It's a magnificent people-watching opportunity as the crowds roll in.

41. Watch when you accidentally litter at Disneyland. It's mind-blowing how efficiently the staff keep the grounds tidy.

Like Beast's love for Belle, the magic of Disneyland is a tale as old as time. The grand old dame may be entering her seventh decade, but nothing has faded.

Add your own tips and pass them on to your children - they'll almost certainly return as parents one day.
 

 
 
Attractions Referenced

Dumbo The Flying Elephant
It's A Small World
Mad Tea Party
Pirates Of The Caribbean
Space Mountain
 
Restaurants Referenced

 
Parades Referenced

Paint The Night Electrical Parade
 
 
 
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